The Federal Trade Commission is launching a national education campaign to help small businesses strengthen cyber defenses to protect sensitive data that they store as outlined in a new Staff Perspective report.
According to the release, FTC will develop and distribute reader-friendly educational materials with information about cybersecurity that small businesses need. The effort grew out of the Small Business & Cybersecurity Roundtables that the FTC hosted last year with small business owners and non-profit organizations, employees and managers to learn about the challenges they face when dealing with cyber threats and how the government can help them.
The campaign builds on the work the FTC has already done. This includes the small business cybersecurity roundtable discussions and the launch of a website in 2017 aimed at helping small businesses avoid scams and protect their networks and data.
The FTC also has developed several cybersecurity publications aimed at businesses of all sizes:
- Start with Security
- Data Breach Response
- Protecting Personal Information
- Stick with Security blog series
Among the issues that small business owners identified are how to avoid phishing schemes, ransomware attacks and tech support scams, as well as cybersecurity basics. Small business owners asked how to protect company mobile devices and wanted a checklist of questions they should ask vendors to ensure their systems are secure.
The FTC is creating guidance on issues of importance to small business owners that will include training modules and videos. Potential topics include phishing, ransomware, email authentication, cloud security, tech support scams, vendor security, how to compare offers of web hosting services, understanding the National Institute of Standards and Technology cybersecurity framework, and more.
To further strengthen this effort, the FTC will work with other government agencies to help develop more consistent messaging about cybersecurity and expand its work with the private and non-profit sectors to help get the materials developed by the FTC to more small businesses.